Chess Puzzle of the Week (51)


Last week I asked you how Pal Benko scored a win from this position.

The answer: he played 1. Rxd3 cxd3 2. Ne6+. Congratulations to Nick Grey (Kingston) who posted the correct answer on Facebook.




Continuing our tribute to the late Pal Benko, this was published in Die Schwalbe (a German chess problem magazine) in 1973. White has to force mate in 6 moves. You might think solving a mate in 6 is too difficult for you, but this one really shouldn’t be. Even if you don’t consider yourself an expert solver give it a go.


Chess Puzzle of the Week (50)


Last week I left you with this endgame study composed by Pal Benko.

It solves like this: 1. a4! Kxb2 2. Ra3! Kxa3 3. axb5 a4 4. b6 and White wins.




Continuing our Benko theme, how did our hero finish his opponent off in this position (Benko-Jeney Hungarian Championship Budapest 1950)? It’s White to play.

Forthcoming Events (Aug/Sep 2019)

If you want to play some chess over the holidays, there are plenty of opportunities.

Some details of forthcoming events:

Sun 11 August: Richmond Rapidplay at Orleans Park School. Entry Form

Mon 12 August: Julian Way is giving a talk on the games of Michael Adams at Kingston Chess Club’s new venue: The Willoughby Arms, 47 Willoughby Rd, Kingston upon Thames KT2 6LN, starting at 19:30.

17-23 August: Jessie Gilbert Celebration International Chess Festival (Coulsdon). Further Information

24-26 August: Berks & Bucks Congress (Maidenhead). Website

Sun 25 August: BBCA Rapidplay (London E1). Flyer

September: UK Open Blitz Championship (London qualifier: Saturday 14 September). Details


Don’t forget: we’re open at the Roebuck for social chess every Thursday evening during the summer. Come along any time from 19:30 onwards for some games and a beer or two!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (45)


Last week’s puzzle: Black won by playing Rd6, threatening Qe1#. White tried Rf2 but resigned after Rd1+. As Maxim Notkin points out in New in Chess, Qf2 would have allowed the more attractive finish Bd4, again mating on e1.

I’m currently searching through my RJCC database looking for suitable puzzles for players up to about 100 strength.


This position comes from a game played in 2002 between two inexperienced players, but the same position also occurred a few years later in an Australian tournament game between a couple of fairly average club standard players. In both games White made the same mistake, but I’m sure you can do better. It’s White to move and draw. I need the next three moves in the main line.


Chess Puzzle of the Week (44)


Last week I left you with this helpmate in 2 (Pitkänen The Problemist Supplement 2019) which has three solutions.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the genre, this means that Black moves, White moves, Black moves and White plays a checkmate, so, unlike in normal chess, the notation runs 1. BMove WMove 2. BMove WMove.

The solutions:

1. Re7+ fxe7 2. Qh1 e8Q#
1. Qh8 f7 2. Rg8 f8N#
1. Kh8 Ra7 2. Rh8 Rxa8#


This week it’s Black’s move in Sethuraman-Iturrizaga (Dubai 2019), taken from Maxim Notkin’s tactics column in the latest New in Chess magazine.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (43)


Last week I presented you with the final position of a game played on Yoko Ono’s all white chess set, and asked you which pieces were actually white and black.

The answer is that the white pieces are Kh1, Qh2 and g3, and the black pieces are Kf2 and Nh3. White has just played g3+.

For those of you who, like John and Yoko, think chess should be about cooperation rather than confrontation, about peace rather than war, the helpmate is the ideal genre.

In a helpmate, White and Black work together to reach a checkmate position. In a helpmate in 2, Black starts by playing a helpful move, White moves, Black moves again so that White can create a beautiful checkmate.


This problem by Jorma Pitkänen was published in the January 2019 edition of The Problemist Supplement.

When you’ve solved it do it again, and then again. There are three solutions: I expect you to find them all.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (42)


Last week I asked you to consider this complicated position from the RJCC database. It’s Black’s move.

It’s obvious that if you capture either the rook or the queen you lose at once. So you have to meet the threat of Rxc8#.

You might try the clever 1… Qe1+ 2. Rxe1 Rxh5 but White is better in this double rook ending after Re7 or Rh7 as it will take Black some time to get the rook on h5 back into play.

White also has a secondary threat of Qf7, followed by Qd7. For example, after 1… Rf8 White plays 2. Qf7 Rh8 3. Qg7 Rd8 4. Qd7 and wins.

We now know that if Black doesn’t fancy Qe1+ he must move the rook to a square that won’t be hit by Qf7. That gives two options: Rh8 and Rd8.

1… Rh8 2. Qf7 Re4 3. Kf1 a6 4. Qxe6+ wins at least a pawn.

1… Rd8 is an improvement, meeting 2. Qf7 with 2… Rhd4, with Qxb3, defending e6, to follow.

Instead, White could continue the back rank tactics with 2. Rd7 Qb6 3. Qf7 Rxd7 4. Qxd7 a6 which, according to Stockfish 10, is about equal.

Full marks, then, if you chose 1… Rd8 here. A consolation prize for Qe1+ or Rh8, both of which lead to inferior endings. Anything else loses.


In 1966 Yoko Ono first displayed a white chess set designed to represent peace rather than war between two armies.

Here’s a Yoko Ono chess position: can you work out the real colours of each piece? It shouldn’t take you too long to solve. (A Frolkin and A Kornilov 1989: I took it from Winning Chess Puzzles for Kids Volume 2 by Jeff Coakley)